Man illegally arrested for exercising freedom of speech rights
It disgusts me when the police actively violate the First Amendment rights of individuals, even if I don't agree with a darn thing they believe. For example, anti-abortion protestor Peter D'Attilio of Massachusetts, who I probably won't agree with on pretty much anything. But, when the police actively violated his freedom of speech, I found it an abhorent abuse of power. He was arrested for handing out anti-abortion literature on the grounds of a fair in Franklin, Massachusetts in 2011.
When told, correctly, that it was private property, he was willing to leave. He was barred from doing so and it was demanded he give I.D. A fair that is open to all, even if private property, does not result in trespass unless the individual refuses to leave. He was willing to leave right away. The government must have reasonable suspicion of a crime to demand I.D. Unfortunately many cops don't seem to care one bit about this requirement.
This man later was intimidated by the police in a town not that much farther away. He was demanded to produce I.D., for which there is no requirement. Two cops harassed his free speech rights and actually told pedestrians to leave, so they would not accept literature. They stated that a Quincy, Mass. law prohibits gatherings of more than four people. Which is of course, unconstitutional, but there was no gathering of four or more people by him passing out literature, unless one counts the cops harassing him and pedestrians.
He was also arrested, though released shortly thereafter, for an anti-abortion protest outside a high school on a sidewalk. Again, there is little I would agree with this person, especially on the question of gay rights. But, I am always outraged when the government and police violate our freedom of speech rights.
These cops who engaged in these illegal arrests should be fined and lose a portion of their paycheck. There should be real consequenes for illegal actively by the police. If the seriousness of the offense is strong enough, they should be fired and face charges.